By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will take up a measure on Friday to extend a COVID-19 eviction moratorium through Dec. 31 that is set to expire Saturday as millions of U.S. households could be forced out of rental homes. U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday asked Congress to extend […]
U.S. House to take up residential eviction moratorium extension
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will take up a measure on Friday to extend a COVID-19 eviction moratorium through Dec. 31 that is set to expire Saturday as millions of U.S. households could be forced out of rental homes.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday asked Congress to extend the moratorium amid a deadly rise in coronavirus infections.
The U.S. House Rules Committee will meet at 8 a.m. EDT on the “Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021” bill and a vote is expected later.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues that “extending the eviction moratorium is a moral imperative.”
She noted in a letter Thursday out of $46.5 billion in rental relief approved by Congress “only $3 billion has been distributed to renters … Congress must act again. We have the power to extend the eviction moratorium to provide relief, as we encourage state and local governments to distribute the money that we allocated.”
It is not clear if the U.S. Senate will take up the measure.
More than 15 million people live in households that are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.
Those 6.5 million households collectively owe more than $20 billion to their landlords.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last month it would not extend the eviction moratorium past July 31.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to leave in place the CDC’s ban on residential evictions imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness during the pandemic.
“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was one of five justices who voted to leave the moratorium in place.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki “unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available.”
Some states have chosen to extend eviction moratoriums beyond July 31 like New York, whose moratorium extends through Aug. 31.
This week, the National Apartment Association, with 82,600 members that collectively manage more than 9.7 million units, sued the U.S. government seeking billions in unpaid rent.
(Reporting by David Shepardson)